COCA COLA: Chooses Sustainable Straws


The spotlight is on leading brands like Coca Cola to reduce the waste associated with doing business. As single-use plastic bans come into effect around the world, large, global companies like Coca Cola are leading the way to develop non-plastic alternatives to meet growing sustainability concerns.

The Partner

Coca-Cola Australia is reducing its plastic footprint by removing the amount of new plastic used and have set themselves a new goal to reduce their use of virgin plastic derived from nonrenewable sources by a cumulative 3 million metric tons over the next five years. In 2025, depending on business growth, they project that they will use approximately 20% less virgin plastic than they do today. (Source)

The Challenge

Plastic straw bans are moving all businesses over to paper straws, but Coca Cola demanded a solution be created that functionally worked as well as plastic for their coldest ice drinks.

To add to the challenge, Straws are not verified as recyclable in the paper recycling stream by the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)  as they are contaminated with food. The best end of life solution for straws is composting.

The Solution

BioPak rose to the challenge to find the perfect solution for the scoop straw that doesn’t crumble and disintegrate before the drink is consumed. 

Our paper straws are made with paper that is cut into long strips that are then rolled and glued into the shape of the straw and cut into the desired lengths. The spoon cutout is a post formation process to achieve the spoon shape. A punching die was used to create the spoon part of the formed straw.

Initial prototypes resembled regular straws, however, because the spoon straw required a bit more strength to be able to scoop up any ice/slush, we needed to increase the strength of the straw. Also, the punched portion of the spoon created a more raw edge of the straw which was able to absorb liquid and reduce the straw's structural integrity. To help all of this we increased the thickness of the straw to a unique 4 ply which helped.

However, all paper straws are not created equal! Our individually wrapped spoon straws are made from paper sourced from managed plantations to ensure responsible forestry, they are also certified home and industrially compostable. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (FSC™) is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organisation that promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. It is considered the certification system of choice for small forest owners.

The Result

Our spoon straws and the sleeve certified home compostable to Australian AS5810 standards, and industrially compostable to Australian AS4736 or European EN13432 standards. They are independently tested and verified to completely biodegrade within 120 days in a commercial and home compost facility, the end product is a non-toxic, nutrient-rich compost.

As sustainability pioneers and to ensure more compost-friendly items don’t end up in landfill, BioPak has created a new brand-agnostic network called Compost Connect that connects foodservice businesses to industrial composters to help compost all certified compostable packaging and food scraps. So far, Compost Connect has diverted over 1,500 tonnes of waste from landfill, equivalent to taking 1,100 cars off the 975 cars off the road.